How can we tackle climate change & biodiversity loss at the same time?
by Lucie Machin
What's Going On Here?
In the past week, a group of scientists, writers and activists wrote an open letter in the Guardian calling for more attention to be paid towards Natural Climate Solutions in solving the threats of both climate change and biodiversity loss.
The idea is simple and exciting: protecting and restoring ecosystems also helps remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Here’s a video to explain more (1:42 minutes).
Take this example. If North American wolf populations were allowed to return to natural levels, by controlling the numbers of tree-eating animals, the increase in trees could prevent the equivalent carbon emissions from up to 71 million cars entering the atmosphere, EVERY YEAR.
What Does This Mean?
Between now and 2030, research suggests that Natural Climate Solutions could capture over 1/3 of the greenhouse gases needed to limit global temperature rise below 2°C. This would require active protection and restoration of ecosystems like natural forests, mangroves and peatlands, which have the potential to drawdown huge amounts of carbon.
Answer: Well, vegetated coastal ecosystems such as saltmarshes, seagrass beds and mangroves store carbon 40 TIMES as fast as tropical rainforests. The top metre of these ecosystems alone could store the equivalent annual emissions of 9.7 billion (yes, BILLION!) cars. Sharks and other predatory fish help prevent overgrazing by plant-munching wildlife like turtles and crabs. So working against overfishing = more carbon stored. Win - win!
Why Should We Care?
Scientists predict that we have less than 12 years to prevent the worst of climate change, and that we have lost 60% of wildlife in the last 50 years.
Enhancing Natural Climate Solutions represents one of the cheapest and safest mitigation options, surprisingly this approach has so-far only received 2.5% of mitigation funding and very little attention, which is why this campaign is so important.
Luckily, there are lots of fantastic organisations working to protect nature and implement Natural Climate Solutions. Why not consider supporting one with a monthly donation?
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